Arusha, November 26, 2009 (FH) - The two French jurists who arrived in Kigali on Monday to investigate genocide crimes committed by Rwandan fugitives currently residing in France had met in October with the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)in Arusha, Hassan Bubacar Jallow.

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Fabienne Pous and Michèle Ganascia intend to stay in Kigali for a week. They are expected to come back for a second visit next year.

According to the ICTR Newsletter, they met Hassan Bubacar Jallow on October 16 at the ICTR headquarters in Arusha (Tanzania).

They came « to request the Tribunal's assistance in the handling of about ten cases involving Rwandan genocide suspects » the ICTR newsletter reads.

According to a reliable source speaking on conditions of anonymity, the two jurists were then especially searching for evidence against Agathe Kanziga, the widow of former president Juvénal Habyarimana.

Agathe Kanziga is not indicted by the ICTR. However, prosecution witnesses testifying in several ICTR trials have often named her as one of the leaders of the genocide, alongside her brother Protais Zigiranyirazo, who was acquitted last week on appeal and immediately freed.

Around ten investigations are now conducted in France against Rwandans suspected of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. All investigations are centralized in Paris.

Only three persons in France have been charged so far for genocide-related facts: Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, the former vicar of the Sainte-Famille church in Kigali; Laurent Bucyibaruta, former sub-prefect of Gikongoro (South of Rwanda) and Captain Pascal Simbikangwa, who belonged to the former Rwandan secret services.

Munyeshyaka and Bucyibaruta had initially been indicted by the ICTR, which then deferred their cases to the French justice.

The fact-finding visit of the French jurists is as landmark development because of the strained relations between Kigali and Paris.

Rwanda severed diplomatic relations in 2006 after a French investigating judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, issued arrest warrants for nine ranking Rwandans suspected of plotting the downing of former President Habyarimana's airplane on April 6, 1994 - an act that sparked the country's genocide.


© Hirondelle News Agency